Providing value-added services

21Feb09

The little things count a lot for adding value to library service. You don’t need a gazillion dollars, but you need some imagination and consistent standards. Here are some of the things Brenda and I do:

Brenda:

One of my best practices is pretty basic office procedures. When I sign out a journal to a researcher, I always include a cover note with who item is for and indicating it is from the library. I also  include my name and extension number too, in case follow up on the researcher’s part is needed. It is simple but many people don’t do it.

I also learned a new standard for case retrieval for the lawyers. Typically I would use a database to search for a particular case. After finding it, I always rename the case from computer gobbldygook to (for example) Jones v. Chan, and provide noting up (or a summary of additional cases that mention the Jones case, hence adding precedential value). I may also ask for billable numbers, the urgency of request, and may even sign out a book of cases, depending on if the lawyer wants hard copy instead. In this way, every researcher gets a consistent level of service.

Karen:

I regularly forward decisions that come in from the court in pdf format. A while back, I decided to provide a simple annotation in the title bar, so my busy lawyers could skim the title and determine if they had to read further. It doesn’t take a lot of time on my part, and can save them from opening up 20 or more files. Plus I get even more familiar with what’s going on in the local legal community. I started doing this with journals as well, at least the ones I don’t forward through Outlook’s rules. I’ll list the contents so people can glance at one screen and determine if they need to open up the whole document. With all the pressures on everyone’s time, we are constantly looking at ways to help them become more efficient.

I also review a lot of blogs, newsletters, news sites, etc. I’ve informed my clients that if there’s a particular area they’re interested in, to let me know and I can forward material I come across that will be relevant to them. I haven’t got a lot of them onside with this, but the ones who are really appreciate it. And it helps justify the amount of time I spend on Twitter 🙂

We’d love to hear what other special librarians are doing for their clients!

~ Karen and Brenda

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